Istanbul court rules to keep TTB chair Fincancı behind bars
An Istanbul court has ruled to keep Turkish Medical Association (TTB) chair Şebnem Korur Fincancı behind bars over the alleged charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
Ferhat Yaşar / DUVAR
The Istanbul 24th Heavy Penal Court ruled on Dec. 23 that the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) chairs Şebnem Korur Fincancı must stay in prison.
An Ankara court on Oct. 27 arrested Fincancı over the alleged charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.” Prosecutors seek seven years and six months in jail for her over the charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization" due to her remarks questioning the claims that the Turkish army used chemical weapons against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The Representatives from the World Health Organization as well as representatives of the embassies in Turkey monitored the hearing.
Fincancı said during the hearing that she called for an independent investigation against the claims as a scientist and as part of her freedom of expression.
She said there is no reason for her to flee the country and demanded her release. “I owe this land. Escaping this country is out of question,” she added.
The Istanbul 24th Heavy Penal Court ruled to keep her behind bars and set the next hearing for Dec. 29.
Fincancı is accused of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” because of her remarks questioning the claims that the Turkish army used chemical weapons against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Media close to the PKK published videos which reportedly showed chemical weapons being used by the army against the PKK in northern Iraq. Several Turkish officials have denied the allegations in question, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
After the allegations, Fincancı said she examined the footage of the alleged use of chemical weapons and said, "Obviously, one of the toxic chemical gases that directly affects the nervous system was used. Although its use is prohibited, we see it used in conflicts.” Fincancı said independent delegations must carry out investigations in the region regarding the allegations.
Fincancı later said “As if I said that chemicals were used. I didn't say anything like that. I mean, (the footage shows) there might be a chemical effect. I say, 'This should be investigated.’ In other words, it is not possible to say this in the footage.”
Targeting Fincancı, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, if necessary, they will change TTB chair by “legal regulation,” following Fincancı’s remarks.
Erdoğan further said they will change the regulation on the structure of professional organizations, so that they can “get rid of the supporters of terrorist organizations.”
An Ankara court on Oct. 27 arrested Fincancı over the alleged charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.” Prosecutors seek seven years and six months in jail for her.